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The Literature of Medicine |

How to Keep Up with the Medical Literature: II. Deciding Which Journals to Read Regularly

R. BRIAN HAYNES, M.D. Ph.D.; K. ANN McKIBBON, M.L.S.; DOROTHY FITZGERALD, M.L.S.; GORDON H. GUYATT, M.D., M.Sc.; CYNTHIA J. WALKER, M.L.S.; and DAVID L. SACKETT, M.D., S.Sc. Epid.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to R. Brian Haynes, M.D., Ph.D.; Department of Clinical and Biostatistics, McMaster University Health Sciences Center, 1200 Main Street W; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5.


Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


© 1986 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1986;105(2):309-312. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-105-2-309
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For practitioners, one of the major objectives for reading the medical literature is to maintain clinical competence. Ideally, this task is accomplished through efficiently extracting from the literature properly validated advances in medical knowledge of direct relevance to the reader's own practice. Practically, the extraction process is a difficult one because reports describing such advances are disseminated through a multitude of general and specialty journals. We describe a preemptive strategy for clinicians to determine which journals to read on a regular basis. General and specialty journals of potential relevance to the reader's practice should be selected initially on the basis of circulation or citation impact, and then consecutive issues surveyed to determine the journals' yields of articles that are both directly relevant and of high quality. Subsequent reading should concentrate on the journals that produce the highest yield on this personal survey.

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